- EBRD lends KZT 4.9 billion to MREK power utility in western Kazakhstan
- Loan to restructure MREK’s balance sheet, boost exchange-rate resilience
- Funds will also go to develop inclusive training programmes for youth and women
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is pledging new funds to improve the financial sustainability of Mangistau Regional Distribution Company (MREK), a major electricity distributor in western Kazakhstan.
A senior loan of up to KZT 4.9 billion (equivalent to €9.5 million) will help MREK, which operates 500 supply transformer substations and a network of more than 5,000 km of electricity lines, to restructure its balance sheet and increase its resilience to future foreign-exchange risks, as well as to the macroeconomic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of the project and in close collaboration with the government of Kazakhstan, MREK has committed to implementing inclusive educational programmes for youth and women in the Mangistau region. Professional training programmes will be developed together with a local university to equip young men and women with the skills they need to succeed in the energy sector, enhancing the role of women in a traditionally male-dominated industry.
The financing will ensure that MREK can continue to implement its strategic development objectives, including the integration of renewables into Kazakhstan’s grid ‒ a goal set in 2018 in the context of the utility’s first project with the EBRD. The loan will also support the utility’s current investment programme to 2025.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than US$ 8.4 billion in Kazakhstan’s economy through 288 projects.